Chris Cohen, Idiot Glee, Thin Hymns | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Chris Cohen, Idiot Glee, Thin Hymns 

When: Wed., March 20, 9:30 p.m. 2013
Price: $10, $7 in advance
For years Chris Cohen played drums or guitar in a diverse array of acts—Deerhoof, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Danielson, White Magic, Cass McCombs—but with the solo project Curtains and his excellent group Cryptacize (with singer Nedelle Torrisi, his girlfriend at the time), he proved he could succeed at the helm of a band. Last fall he released his solo debut under his own name, Overgrown Path (Captured Tracks), where he plays and sings everything and wrote all the material (except for one tune cowritten by Torrisi). It sounds like a literal bedroom record: its murky, restrained arrangements seem designed to avoid disturbing the neighbors, and Cohen’s sweet, nasal singing, which reminds me of Ray Davies and Robert Wyatt (especially on the slower, more meandering songs), often feels careful and reserved. The album’s lean arrangements—just drums, guitar, bass, and keyboards—provide a rich soil for the gorgeous vocal melodies without drawing attention to themselves. Cohen’s lyrics seem to come from a dream state that alternates between uncontained euphoria (“Optimist High”) and abject fear (on “Don’t Look Today” the narrator accepts a nightmarish situation with a kind of narcotized calm: “The sky above is cold and blue / There’s nothing below you”). The full-band accompaniment on this tour should dispel some of the record’s sleepy haze, but I expect Cohen’s songs will stand up fine to relatively forceful readings. —Peter Margasak Idiot Glee and Thin Hymns open.



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